As you can tell by now, Madonna was not playing at all with her VMA performances. At all.
Madonna - Vogue:
This next performance also racked up controversy when Janet Jackson opened her shirt to reveal her black bra as she was pretty PG before this time. Again, may seem rather mild now, but it was the early 90s. She also tore this performance down.
Janet Jackson - Black Cat:
This one is just for fun.
MC Hammer - U Can’t Touch This:
One of my personal favorite VMA performances. Prince just killed this shit with his ass hanging out the whole time. No male artist would ever be able to get away with an outfit like this today. Only Prince could wear shit like that and still be able to fuck your girlfriend, sister, and mother.
Prince and The New Power Generation - Gett Off:
This performance is credited for basically ending a career. This was basically Paula Abdul’s Gimme More performance, except Britney’s music career survived that. Paula got so much shit for this: the outfit, the vocals, the ‘Horny Horns’!
Paula Abdul - Vibeology:
If you don’t know the back story for this performance, MTV wanted Nirvana to perform their hit Smells Like Teen Spirit but they wanted to play newer songs like Rape Me. MTV did not want that at all so they offered Nirvana the option of performing Teen Spirit or Lithium. Nirvana chose the latter. As a ‘fuck you’ to MTV execs, Nirvana began their performance with a small bit of Rape Me (which scared the shit out of MTV) but shortly started to perform Lithium. Also, around 5:10 of the video, you’ll see bassist Krist Novoselic throw his bass up in the air and have it collide right with his face.
Nirvana - Lithium:
Top 3 favorite VMA performance. So underrated. I don’t know how this performance isn’t featured on every “Best VMA Performances” list whenever the VMAs roll around. When that guitar comes in during If, I could scream. Even watching it right now is giving me all the life I need. Janet ATE this.
Janet Jackson - That’s The Way Love Goes/If:
This isn’t a performance, but it was just so insanely weird that I can’t not mention it. Here we have the infamous appearance of then-couple Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. The kiss, the “And just think, nobody thought this would last (Cause it didn’t.) Bizarre.
TLC performing a medley of all their smashes off the classic CrazySexyCool album. When Chilli hits that move at 1:51, my inner monologue screams “YES BITCH!!”
TLC - ‘CrazySexyMedley’: Ain’t 2 Proud To Beg/Kick Your Game/Creep/Waterfalls:
MTV gave Michael Jackson a whole 15 minutes to absolutely slay. The Dangerous part of this performance is so badass and epic. Smooth as hell.
Michael Jackson (Feat. Slash) - Medley (Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough/The Way You Make Me Feel/Scream/Beat It/Thriller/Black or White/Dangerous/You Are Not Alone)
Of course this performance is good, it’s the Fugees and Nas. Lauryn’s vocals over everything.
The Fugees (Feat Nas) - Killing Me Softly/Fu-Gee-La/Ready or Not/If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)
Also not a performance, but this Fiona Apple speech is one the most memorable moment from the ‘97 Awards. We’ll probably never hear a speech like this from a artist accepting a VMA again. Also, the line “Andrew Slater…no one else could have produced this album and NO ONE ELSE DID” is hysterical.
Probably the greatest performance the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy will ever take part in. His tribute to his fallen friend, the Notorious B.I.G., is fantastic. Also featured are appearances by Sting, Faith Evans, and 112.
Puff Daddy (Feat. Faith Evans, 112, & Sting) - I’ll Be Missing You.
I love this Spice Girls performance simply because Victoria said that they didn’t have their make up artists with them for this performance so they went out their looking like drag queens. I also really like this song.
Man, remember when this guy used to be relevant?
Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People:
My favorite Backstreet Boys jam. I miss highly choreographed boy band performances. I’m not expecting so much from this years’ One Direction performance. I was more of an *NSYNC person growing up, but even I can say they killed this shit.
Backstreet Boys - Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
This performance helped squash the rumor that Brandy and Monica hated each other. Also, The Boy is Mine is classic.
Brandy & Monica - The Boy is Mine:
Man, look at how hype the crowd was for the Beastie Boys. This is so live! I wish today’s hip hop VMA performances caused this much fanfare with the crowd. Womp womp.
Beastie Boys - 3 MCs and 1 DJ/Intergalactic.
The performance that opened the show (Kid Rock/Run DMC/Aerosmith) is almost too good for something for Kid Rock to be a part of. Every part of this performance slaps. Even Bawitdaba went off.
Kid Rock (Feat. Run DMC & Aerosmith) - King of Rock/Rock Box/Bawitdaba/Walk This Way
Lauryn Hill’s awesome performance of Lost Ones & Everything is Everything. Interesting that Lauryn performed Lost Ones considering Wyclef was there. Shade.
Lauryn Hill - Lost Ones/Everything is Everything:
I love this TLC performance. When Too Much Booty In Da Pants comes on, wooooooo. This is almost making me sad. Look how excited and so full of life everyone was - we don’t see that too much nowadays at the VMAs.
TLC - No Scrubs:
I think this performance showcased the great stage presence Eminem has. He seemed real excited to be there. I don’t even think he realized how much of a VMA staple he was going to become.
Eminem, Dr. Dre, & Snoop Dogg - My Name Is…/Guilty Conscience/Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang
From here, we go into the 2000s! Prepare yourself.